THE harvesting of irrigated maize in Chiredzi grown by Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe in partnership with the Masvingo Development Trust (MDT) is set for next week.
The two parties planted 327 hectares in the Lowveld and about 1500 tonnes are expected to be harvested, a development to alleviate food shortage in the province and entire Zimbabwe.
Acting Masvingo provincial Agritex officer, Aaron Muchazivepi said harvesting should have started long back but was delayed by the rains.
“Harvesting is now expected to kick off next week (this week). The crop is ripe, but the prevailing wet spell poses challenges for a combine harvester,” said Muchazivepi.
He said plans were in place to expand the project to other crops like soya beans, sugar beans and wheat.
“As a province, we must always try to adapt to climate change, which continues to affect us on a daily basis,” he said.
Muchazivepi urged agricultural research stations in the province to work towards identifying crops which could be grown in arid regions to boost Masvingo’s food security.
“We are satisfied that Tongaat Hullet has the potential and capacity to make a genuine contribution in irrigation farming that can sustain the province and we are calling others with irrigation facilities to utilise fully the available natural resources to enhance food security,” Muchazivepi said.
Masvingo is home to many dams that could be exploited to produce food and cash crops under irrigation.
These are Tugwi Mukosi, lake Mutirikwi, Manyuchi, Bangala, Manjirenji, Mushandike, Siya Dam, and many other smaller dams.
Tongaat Hullets began growing maize in partnership with the Masvingo Development Trust some years ago in a bid to ensure food security in the province.
The programme was initiated by the former Masvingo Resident Minister Josaya Hungwe who asked the sugarcane producer to help grow winter maize.
The maize was supplied to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to boost its reserves, which would come handy in times of drought.
“More companies should take a lead from Tongaat to shield the country from the ravages of climate change which are causing food shortages,” said Muchazivepi.